ERIC ED512338: The 2009 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in Our Nation's Schools
Publication date 2010
Topics ERIC Archive, Bullying, Sexual Orientation, Academic Aspiration, Homosexuality, Sexual Identity, School Safety, Educational Environment, Gender Issues, At Risk Students, Incidence, Social Bias, Language Usage, Victims of Crime, Academic Achievement, Student Experience, Well Being, Mental Health, Teacher Role, Parent Role, Social Support Groups, School Personnel, Advocacy, School Policy, Staff Development, Access to Information, Racial Bias, Violence, Extracurricular Activities, Laws, Self Disclosure (Individuals), Student Rights, Age Differences, Institutional Characteristics, Charter Schools, Geographic Location, Kosciw, Joseph G., Greytak, Emily A., Diaz, Elizabeth M., Bartkiewicz, Mark J.
For 20 years, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) has worked to ensure safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. For 10 of those years, GLSEN has been documenting the school experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth: the prevalence of anti-LGBT language and victimization, the effect that these experiences have on LGBT students' achievement and the utility of interventions to both lessen the negative effects of a hostile climate and promote a positive educational experience. In its 2009 survey, GLSEN's researchers examine the experiences of LGBT students with regard to indicators of negative school climate: (1) hearing biased remarks, including homophobic remarks, in school; (2) feeling unsafe in school because of personal characteristics, such as sexual orientation, gender expression or race/ethnicity; (3) missing classes or days of school because of safety reasons; and (4) experiences of harassment and assault in school. They also examine the possible negative effects of a hostile school climate on LGBT students' academic achievement, educational aspirations and psychological well-being. They explore the diverse nature of LGBT students' experiences by reporting on how these differ by students' personal and community characteristics. They also examine whether or not students report experiences of victimization to school officials or to family members and how these adults address the problem. In addition, they demonstrate the degree to which LGBT students have access to supportive resources in school, and they explore the possible benefits of these resources, including Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), school harassment/assault policies, supportive school staff and curriculum that is inclusive of LGBT-related topics. Given that they now have 10 years of data, they examine changes over the past decade on both indicator. Results from the 2009 National School Climate Survey demonstrate the ways in which school-based supports, such as supportive staff, school harassment/assault policies and GSAs can positively affect LGBT students' school experiences. Furthermore, results show how comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment state laws can positively affect school climate for these students. Therefore, this report recommends the following measures: (1) Advocate for comprehensive bullying/harassment legislation at the state and federal levels that specifically enumerates sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as protected categories alongside others such as race, religion and disability; (2) Adopt and implement comprehensive bullying/harassment policies that specifically enumerate sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in individual schools and districts, with clear and effective systems for reporting and addressing incidents that students experience; (3) Support student clubs, such as Gay-Straight Alliances, that provide support for LGBT students and address LGBT issues in education; (4) Provide training for school staff to improve rates of intervention and increase the number of supportive teachers and other staff available to students; and (5) Increase student access to appropriate and accurate information regarding LGBT people, history and events through inclusive curriculum and library and Internet resources. "Responses to Items of the Psychological Sense of School Membership Scale" is appended. (Contains 10 tables, 97 figures, and 166 notes.) [Funding for this research was provided by the Johnson Family Foundation. For the executive summary, see ED512336.]
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